Garden of Stones- Sophie Littleford

Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the publishers (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up—along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans—and taken to the Manzanar prison camp. Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks.




It’s taken me quite a while to get around to reviewing this book.


It’s the first I’ve read about Japanese living in allied countries during World War Two, I read a lot of WW2 fiction but most of it is based in the UK or Germany. Part of what I liked about it was how it seemed to show that it wasn’t just the Nazis who discriminated. Not that the prison camps were anything compared to German concentration camps, but that people were treated as enemies just because they were of Japanese heritage.


Some of the story was interesting. The atmosphere of the camps was well written, and you could imagine what horrible places they were to live in. The actual events that happened in the camp seemed a bit much though. I am not debating whether or not those types of things may or may not have happened but it seems a lot for one person to be involved in. I almost got the sense that Littleford couldn’t make enough of one story so decided to knit a few together.


If that was indeed what she did the stories were linked fairly well, but made the ‘secret’ somewhat predictable. My only doubts when it came to what I thought the secret was came from having been told early on that something else was the answer to what had happened.


At the time I rather enjoyed this book, but having waited to write my review, and starting Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet since have slowly worn down my opinion. I am glad I read it because I wouldn’t have known to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet without it, and it opened my eyes to less told stories.


However I didn’t really get that strong a sense of how it felt to be Japanese at that time. This novel started off being historical, but became a mystery somewhere along the line and I would rather have just had a historical novel.


Oh and the whole way through I did not like the cover, the girl on the front is just too young looking. It’s not something that would have stopped me picking it up however.




This book is released in paperback on 19th February and on Kindle on 1st March. You can pre-order now from amazon:
Paperback (£8.28)
Kindle (£5.59)

Other reviews
Sam Still Reading
Have I missed your review? Link in comments and I will add it here.


Filed under Fiction review, Historical, Mystery

8 responses to “Garden of Stones- Sophie Littleford

  1. Isi

    Sounds interesting. I have read books about the Japanese part in the War, and yes, I think that it is less told than the European war.


  2. It was good, but for a similar theme Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was better. What books have you read about this time?


  3. Isi

    Ohh unfortunately the books I’ve read were written by Spanish authors, so I suppose they are only available in Spanish, sorry.


  4. aww well. Thanks


  5. Thank you for the link 🙂 I must read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, perhaps my opinion of this book will be changed!


  6. Oh you really should. I enjoyed this book a lot when I read it but looking back on it it doesn’t seem as great.


  7. Pingback: It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 17/3/14 | Lucybird's Book Blog

  8. Pingback: House of Glass- Sophie Littleford | Lucybird's Book Blog

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